13
Jul
15

PORQUIS ROCK & BLUES-THE NEW EVOLUTION-MONKEYJUNK, DIGGING ROOTS, CONOR GAINS, AND MORE UP THE ANTE-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

DIGGING ROOTSGHOST TOWN BLUES BANDSTEVE MARRINERTONY DP REDDICKERIN

NOTE..

This review will run copy in shorter length with Post Media Timmins Daily Press copy due shortly

thx John.

Summer days and nights at Porquis Junction took on new significance this weekend.
With a diverse set of artists that could best be described as roots with rock and blues overtones there was a sense of musical community.
The fans and staff I spoke with came away with a sense of listening to the realness of what the artists were putting out.
“I think this weekend shows that enough people from this area want this festival to continue to be a special summer event. We have had tremendous help from yourself and media outlets who are excited explained organizer and guitarist Luc Doiron
That sentiment was echoed by musician/event person Jack Larabee.
‘We are already making plans for next year, in fact were having draws for tickets for 2016.
Adding a small portion of Rock Music on the Friday night to the event is a good thing and the crowd response to it and the award winning recording artists here on Saturday shows it’s all about the music. and that’s a good thing’ said Larabee.
Friday was highlighted by a hard rock set by Drivyn with Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath covers and originals, to the always solid  R & B/Rock grooves of Jack and the Ripperz to a crowd pleasing dance floor blues set from Jake and the Fundamentals with superb vocals by Jesse Thomas and the killer dynamics of Jake Thomas’ guitar and band.
I could not make the opening set from Inviolet due to a previous engagement..
Saturday drew heavy on recording artists and audience involvement.
This was easily set in motion by Saturday’s opening set by 23 year old Cambridge Ontario native Conor Gains.
Gains makes you a believer.
Gains and his band displayed not only solid original material but organic covers of Bob Dylan all set ablaze by killer guitar trade offs with the incomparable Jimmy Bowskill who was sitting in with the band
.
This basically set the tone for what turns out was a hot day musically and weather wise.
Erin McCallum who also acted as emcee set her music apart by standout Memphis style vocals on slower tempo songs like Complicated Woman and It’s Time .
Harp wizard and storyteller Paul Reddick who actually had fans in attendance from his Sideman era group days played a mix from four cd’s including his latest project Wishbone.
It was a blistering set backed by alumni from Monkeyjunk.
By far, two of the most interesting sets came via The Ghost Town Blues Band all the way from Memphis Tennessee and Digging Roots an amazing Native family group fronted by Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish.
GTBB led into their set by playing the New Orleans anthem When the Saints Go Marching In as they entered from the audience to the stage.
What followed was a high musical standard of Allman Brother Band classics, New Orleans Gumbo-esque music and superb originals from their cds Hard Road To Hoe and Dark Horse. Songs like like Big Shirley and Memphis Train stood out.
To say this band was funky and entertaining is an understatement. Wow.
Digging Roots are all about good vibes, family grooves and indigenous roots.
Stand out original songs like Rich Girl, Hwy 17, and I believe a song title  For The Light transcend musical genre.
The audience dance participation on a fantastic native dance number was superb.
MonkeyJunk took to the stage shortly after 10 p.m.and drew out the campers and the entire audience onto the dance floor doing what I call “The Porquis Shuffle”.
Crowd pleasing is the word for this Juno winning Ottawa trio.
And the best part of the band’s music is it’s done from the perspective of hard working solid musicality.
The sheer amount of groove coming from drummer Matt Sobb, organic guitar master Tony D and the very gifted front man Steve Marriner is vital.
Including at least 2 excellent tracks from their fourth album to be released in a few months, as well as songs You Make a Mess, Jah Nay Say Kwah and their cover of Muddy Waters Tiger In Your Tank their set stuck like glue
It was clear the band was having fun.
Vocalist Steve Marriner took a few minutes to pay tribute to Peter “Sab” Sabourin one of the founders of the Porquis Blues Festival and dedicated a song to his inspiration .
It was very classy and moving and drew an emotional response from the crowd.
Porquis Rock and Blues will flourish with new musical artists, old friends, new friends, and memories of things past and present.
The evolution has begun.
photos John Emms and Jean Marc Regimbal
JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist/Sun Media freelance, online radio host and songwriter
JOHN fronts up the hard blues/ roots band THE SHAFTMEN
The band has released 3 original albums and gained consistent airplay on Galaxie Blues and CBC Radio
Read John in the Timmins Daily Press
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